Striped bass continue to be quality in both numbers and size.
Tom Daffin usually runs his charter boat Fish N Fever out of Cape May. But he is one of those dedicated captains who moved his boat closer to the striped bass action off Atlantic City and up the beach toward Long Beach Island and Barnegat Inlet.
It has paid off.
Tom said he had a group out Friday, and the fishing was “crazy good.”
He said they connected with 70 bass, mainly in the 32- to 36-inch class but with one that went 40 inches. And he said another group had 30 bass on Thursday that were a little bigger, 36 to 44 inches.
On Friday, he said, he trolled one area and moved to where he saw some bird play. The birds moved to where he had been fishing, so he moved back and got into fish. He is trolling those red-hot white Mojos that have been in almost every report, but he said Friday that bunker spoons are effective, as are Stretch 30s. He was up off the Red Towers on Long Beach Island on Friday.
Daffin brought the Fish N Fever up to the Sen. Frank S. Farley State Marina on Nov. 10 and will be there until Thursday before heading back to Utsch’s Marina in Cape May to resume operations from there Friday.
Steve Bent on the Free Spirit out of Margate had three guys out Wednesday off Corson Inlet and hooked a dozen bass, one of which was a little bigger than what has been generally reported recently.
It was 48 inches long.
Dave Showell started out at Showell’s Shoal off Atlantic City on Friday and marked “more fish than I imagined could be there.”
Dave runs his always-busy guide service out of his Absecon Bay Sportsman Center and kept his winning streak going with a 15-pound, 35-inch bass. Dave has not missed in quite a while.
He said it was dead calm and one of the nicest days. He said the bass just did seem to want to eat. He marked a thick school of bunker off Brigantine. Mike O’Neill on the Stray Cat out of Seaview Harbor said the same thing about the thick schools of bunker.
Most times, bass are really active, and sometimes they are not, but captains and crews out there in the cold agree they are still here in numbers, and there are continuing reports of bass to the north, so they should continue to move down the beach for a while. Remember, bass are out of bounds 3 miles out. The Coast Guard has been patrolling the line.
Surf-fishing for bass has been slow.
The Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic has a hot streak going with 24 registered in the first six days of December. They all were from 7 to 14 pounds, or excellent table fare.
The 63rd annual tourney concludes Sunday.
Gary Born took a ride from his usual home turf (or sand) in Brigantine to Island Beach State Park on Tuesday and caught 20 bass in the surf, all of which he released.
Tautog fishing keeps pace when conditions allow captains to travel more offshore. Tog are still hugging the rockpiles and jetties.
Noel Feliciano said Friday he just took a photo of a 15 1/2-inch tog caught by a woman from Pennsylvania who was in town with her husband for their 40th wedding anniversary.
That’s a perfect intro for the Fishing for Toys striped bass contest that Noel is running out of One-Stop Bait and Tackle in Atlantic City.
It starts Saturday and concludes next Saturday. Contestants can win $250 for the heaviest bass with $150 for second place and $100 for third.
To enter, bring an unwrapped toy into One-Stop to be donated to the Atlantic City Police Athletic League. Santa Claus will be there for opening day on the beach at Vermont Avenue in Atlantic City from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Meeting in Maryland
A joint meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is next week in Annapolis, Maryland.
Summer flounder and sea bass regulations for 2018 are important topics for not only New Jersey recreational and commercial interests but all coastal states.
It is open to the public, and a strong New Jersey participation is expected.
It starts Monday and goes to Thursday with a variety of topics and issues at Westin Annapolis, 100 Westgate Circle.
Summer flounder is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon from 2:30 to 5:30, while black sea bass and bluefish are scheduled for Wednesday.
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Mike Shepherd is the retired sports editor of The Press. His column appears in the Tuesday and Saturday print editions and online.